Air Leakage Test Descriptions

It can be difficult to pick the right building envelope test based on just the title of the test.  Test titles can be misleading, you might see the right terms in there but it takes time to read through the test procedures to see if it is really right for your project.  Is it a field test, a laboratory test in a controlled environment, or not a test at all but a guide?  Does the test exclude certain products or systems or is it inclusive?  The test descriptions that follow are meant to guide you to the right test for your project. 

ASTM E779 - Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization 

Use this air tightness test for whole buildings, parts of a building, or 6 sided mockups.   This test is similar to CGSB-149.1.

CGSB-149.1 – Determination of the Airtightness of Building Envelopes by the Fan Depressurization Method

Similar to ASTM E779 this Canadian test standard is used as an air tightness test for whole buildings,  parts of a building, or 6 sided mockups. 

ASTM E1186 - Standard Practices for Air Leakage Site Detection in Building Envelopes and Air Barrier Systems

This test standard describes several methods for qualitatively assessing the air barrier of a building.  Methods include infrared imaging and fog or smoke testing used in combination with fan pressurization and sonic testing.  This standard does not provide air leakage rates but helps to locate air leaks so they can be improved. 

ASTM E783 - Standard Test Method for Field Measurement of Air Leakage Through Installed Exterior Windows and Doors

The title says it all, this is a field airtightness test for individual installed windows or doors.  This test can be modified to test site mockups and air barrier assemblies.

ASTM E283 - Standard Test Method for Determining Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Under Specified Pressure Differences Across the Specimen

This is an air tightness test for individual windows, curtain walls, and doors but it is done under controlled laboratory conditions.  This test is commonly confused with ASTM E783, the field test for air tightness if individual windows and doors.  

ASTM E2357 - Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies

This method is used to test air barrier materials and products when combined into an assembly. This is a laboratory test but the method may also be applied to site mockups.

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